I’M excited about the mental development of Carson Wentz, as he makes an effort to be a legitimate franchise QB. I’m ecstatic over the acquisition of G Chance Warmack. I’m extremely happy with the extensions given to T Jason Peters, and C/G Stefen Wisniewski. The addition of DE Chris Long makes us deep with talented pass rushers, and DT Timmy Jernigan will make sure you won’t miss Bennie Logan. We added a ton of proven NFL talent during this offseason.
That all being said, what is with all this boasting already? It’s true. Last week I said we were about to undergo a massive evolutionary jump as a team, but pump the brakes, folks! Pump the brakes! Didn’t we just go 7-9? (Wait no.) Didn’t we just go 7-9, twice? Look, I’m all about optimism and whatnot, but talking to Eagles fans these days, you’d think we were already 14-1 and heading into Week 17. Let’s keep this **** in perspective shall we?
Most of the talk right now is on how WR Alshon Jeffery will come in and change the Offense by giving Wentz a “big time #1”, “a legit go-to guy”, and “a stud WR”. Well what the fuck? Wasn’t Jeffrey all those things in Chicago when they went 8-8, 5-11, 6-10 and 3-13? This is the same Jeffrey with 26 career touchdowns in 63 career games, right? (This is the part where people blame Jay Cutler, without realizing that in Chicago, Cutler with Jeffery (2012-2016) was more of less the exact same QB without him (2009-2011). Proof you say? Take a look here.)
Let me hip you all to something very important. How Jeffery plays is neither here nor there. It’s not the big issue. Nope. Not even close. The big issue is coverage. (Not pass rush as Sal Palantonio said it is, but coverage.)
Last year, because our CB’s couldn’t even stay with their shadows, our pass rushers didn’t get as many sacks as their talent would indicate they should have. Oh sure, we got a ton of hurries, but a hurry is what they call it when you get to the QB a second too late. (Either that or a penalty.) This season will come down to how consistently (key word!) our coverage can buy 3 and a half seconds for our pass rush. That’s it. That’s the whole season, right there.
Better coverage equals more sacks and turnovers, equals shorter drives, equals fewer chances for opponents to get into scoring range, equals fewer points by touchdown OR field goal, equals fewer points allowed, equals improved chances to win any game we play. All of that starts with coverage, because even great rush (as we saw last year) will be thwarted by quick and easy completions. Not quick and easy throws, but completions.
Unfortunately, no one (but me) seems to want to have that discussion. In a division with Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, and (to a lesser extent) Dak Prescott, the idea of Defense hardly seems to be a subject around here. That’s disturbing, given it’s importance to the Eagles 2017 season.
Let me repeat a few points I made in my last article. I said to sit back and enjoy the next few years. I said this team’s evolution is a process. I said what we must undergo and undertake cannot be faked, nor simulated. While it would be nice to ride this offseason to a playoff berth, it would be foolish to go around expecting it. (At which point people will act like the Eagles somehow let them down again.)
There is much left to be done before we fans can strut around like we own the division. It’s been years now since we won the East. Years. We don’t own any form of valid bragging rights anymore. You claim bragging rights when you win, and NOT before. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk trash, but until our team can break .500 again, it might be wise to pump the brakes with the boasting.